Sports

Canada drubs The Bahamas again

National team falls to 0-2 in the world cup qualifiers

The Bahamas senior men’s national basketball team was a little more competitive on Monday… at least for the first half of play.

By the time the second half of basketball rolled around, the team slipped into a helpless state, falling victim to a barrage of three-point shots and inside power play by the Canadians. Canada rolled again, winning emphatically, 113-77, at the Palacio de los Deportes Virgilio Travieso Soto in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic (DR).

Canada now has two wins in the opening window of the FIBA (International Basketball Federation) Americas World Cup Qualifiers while The Bahamas fell to a winless 0-2 record, losing both games convincingly. They lost the opening game to Canada, 115-73, on Sunday, dropping both games of the home and away series on neutral ground convincingly.

The Bahamas was still in the game at the half, trailing just 58-46, but Thomas Scrubb made back-to-back three-point shots at the 

beginning of the third for Canada and the rout was on. From there, The Bahamas  never got to within single digits again, trailing by as much as 36 points in the lopsided affair.

David Nesbitt had a respectable shooting night for The Bahamas, dropping in a side-high 18 points on 7-for-14 shooting and 2-for-7 shooting from deep. Point guard Dominick Bridgewater and Mychel Thompson dropped in 12 points apiece for The Bahamas. Travis Munnings was the only other player in double figures for The Bahamas with 10, and added eight rebounds and six assists – both team highs.

Kyle Wiltjer led Team Canada with a game-high 25 points on 8-for-15 shooting. He was 4-for-6 from three-point range. Kassius Robertson added 15 points on 6-for-11 shooting including 3-for-7 from deep, Phil Scrubb had 13 including a perfect 3-for-3 from deep, and Kenny Fred Chery scored 11 on 3-for-9 shooting. Thomas Scrubb and Aaron Best both scored 10, giving Canada six players in double figures scoring.

Canada shot 50.7 percent from the floor, going 38-for-75, compared to 42.4 percent for The Bahamas (28-for-66). The Bahamas hit just 8 of 30 of their three-point attempts while Canada shot a blistering 50 percent from distance (17-for-34). Additionally, Canada outrebounded The Bahamas, 48-30, dominated in bench points (49-17) and forced 19 turnovers while committing just 13 themselves.

The Bahamas never led, but stayed within striking distance for much of the opening period and trailed by single digits at the end of it – 34-26. They kept pace in the second quarter as well, but fell apart in the third and had the life sucked out of them in the fourth. By the end of the third quarter, Canada was ahead 83-59.

The Bahamas got no closer than 23 points in the fourth.

It was the fourth straight emphatic win for Canada over The Bahamas in senior men’s basketball, dating back to the 2019 world cup 

qualifiers. The Bahamas has lost by an average of 37 points in those four games.

Canada now has the upper hand among the four teams in Group C, gaining four points in the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 qualifying process. The other teams in the group are The Bahamas, the DR and the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI). Just the top three nations will qualify for the second round of qualifiers.

With regular head coach Chris DeMarco fulfilling his player development role with the Golden State Warriors of the National Basketball Association (NBA), and Mario Bowleg now serving as the country’s newest sports minister, Moses Johnson stepped into the head coaching role for The Bahamas for this opening window of the FIBA Americas World Cup Qualifiers. He is being assisted by former NBA player Dexter Cambridge.

Bowleg served as the 

national coach during the FIBA AmeriCup 2022 Qualifiers in 2020 and 2021.

Canada is the highest ranked team in the group, coming in at number 18 in the FIBA World Rankings, presented by Nike. The DR and the USVI are at numbers 20 and 52, respectively, and The Bahamas is ranked at number 59.

The top three teams will advance to the second round of the qualifiers and will join other teams to create two six-team groups. The second round windows are scheduled for August 2022, November 2022, and February 2023. Each team will play two games in each window.

The top three teams in each group, plus the best fourth team, will qualify for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023. The FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 is set to be held in the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia, August 25 to September 10, 2023.

The Bahamas has never advanced to the second round of the FIBA Americas World Cup Qualifiers.

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Sheldon Longley

Sheldon Longley joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2001 as a sports reporter. He was promoted to sports editor in 2008. Sheldon has an extensive background in sports reporting. He covered three Olympic Games and three world championships, along with multiple smaller regional and local games.

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